Shirley Brewer

Shirley Brewer
Baltimore, MD
Non-Fiction, Poetry
After School Program, Assisted Living, College/University, Arts/Cultural Organizations, Community Center, Independent Living, K-12 Schools, Library, Senior Center

I have worked for five years as the resident poet at Carver Center (high school) for the Arts in Baltimore, MD. I have also taught poetry/creative writing workshops to older adults at the University of Baltimore, through Passager Books, which publishes only writers 50 +. And this past fall I taught an 8-week creative writing workshop to senior adults at Integrace: Fairhaven, a residential facility for older adults. I have been a teacher all of my adult life - first as a speech therapist in the public schools. For the past 17 years, I have been immersed in writing poetry and teaching poetry/creative writing. I have three published books of poetry, and have attended many writing workshops in this country, and in Ireland and Italy. My experience as a speech therapist has helped me to hone a fine sense of empathy which is very valuable in the teaching setting.

I began working with older adults in my teen years, as I was actively involved with the Red Cross. Since I am now an older adult myself, I still find this age group to be inspiring and stimulating. Older adults bring a wealth of experience to any writing class. They may need some help unearthing and expressing those experiences, but most are very open and honest and willing to try new approaches. My favorite quote since high school is by Eleanor Roosevelt: "Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure." I try to communicate this spirit in all of my classes, and I find older adults in community settings are more than willing to embrace the literary adventure and have a good time in the process.